Motorcycles continue to be a popular mode of transportation. Recreationally they are well suited to traversing scenic roads, and as a commuter vehicle their fuel efficiency is unmatched. However, due to their open nature, there are no protections afforded to the driver if there is an accident. The Szantho Law Firm examined the data in the recently released 2011 Annual Traffic Report and saw that a large percentage, 95%, of New Mexico motorcyclists involved in accidents are failing to shield themselves to the fullest of their ability by not wearing helmets.
“On average, motorcycle accidents result in more severe injuries than you would see from a passenger vehicle,” says Andras Szantho, founder of the Szantho Law Firm. “That is why most riding guidelines recommend protective or heavy clothing as well as a helmet. While nothing can replace the safety of the frame, the rider can do things to try and minimize potential injuries.”
When compared to accidents involving passenger cars, the statistics indicate that a motorcyclist is more likely to suffer injuries. Data from the report shows that 16.9% of people involved in an automobile crash were injured or killed, however, for motorcyclists the number skyrockets to 75.1%. There are also tenfold increases when comparing the number of fatalities, severe and visible injuries in motorcycle accidents to the numbers recorded for cars.
While increasing helmet use would likely reduce some of the disparity, estimating the degree to which the severity of injuries could be reduced is a difficult task at best given New Mexico’s statistics. 95.4% of motorcyclists involved in a crash were not wearing a helmet at the time, and 98% of motorcyclist fatalities involved riders not wearing helmets. With so few documented incidents with helmets present, consistent estimates are problematic.
Comparatively, information from a John’s Hopkins study found that riders who were helmeted were 22% less likely to suffer a cervical spine injury, 65% reduction in risk of a traumatic brain injury and a 37% decrease in odds of fatality.
“We know from various studies that motorcycle helmets do reduce the severity of head injuries and save lives,” concludes Szantho. “Yet, if you consider the accident data it appears that the vast majority of New Mexican motorcyclists are ignoring the statistics and continue to put themselves at increased risk.”
The Szantho Law Firm has offices in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They handle a variety of personal injury cases, including: bicycle accidents, automobile accidents, slip-and-fall, traumatic brain injury, medical malpractice and more. They can be reached for a free consultation at http://www.szantholaw.com or at (505)-820-3366.
Visit http://www.szantholaw.com/ for more information.
Name: Andras Szantho
Organization: The Szantho Law Firm
Address: 210 Montezuma Ave. Ste. 200 Santa Fe, NM 87501